Chef Michael Kornick, founder and owner of mk The Restaurant, is a nationally recognized leader in the culinary arts. Chef Kornick works with the freshest seasonal ingredients and stays true to classical cooking techniques. It is his belief that ingredients should speak for themselves. Although known primarily for his accomplishments as a chef, Michael has developed into one of the country’s leading restaurateurs. He is highly sought after as an authority on restaurant management and customer service and is known as a generous mentor to those who have worked under him past and present.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Michael is very active in the community. He has raised awareness and money annually for Share our Strength, the Chicago Food Depository, Healthy Schools Campaign, Steppenwolf Theater, Perspectives Charter School, Sweet Water Foundation and many other worthy organizations. For the past eight years Chef Kornick has served as Chef Chair for Toque: An Evening With Chicago’s Culinary Masters. The event raises money for Children’s Oncology Services, Inc. and funds their Camp One Step at a Time, a camp for children with cancer.
Chef Kornick lives in Chicago with his wife and business partner Lisa and their children.
Lisa Koch Kornick opened mk in 1998 with her husband, Chef Michael Kornick, and handles day-to-day operations at the restaurant. She loves pairing fresh, seasonal ingredients in a comfortable and welcoming setting. Whether you’re having a simple cocktail and bite at the bar before a show or sitting down for a romantic anniversary dinner, Lisa wants you to feel at home in the dining room of mk.
Lisa is an extremely active member of her community and sits on the boards of both Perspectives Charter School and the Sweet Water Foundation. Her dream is to open a non-profit restaurant on Chicago’s south side to train students in the culinary arts. She is a mother of three teenagers.
Say hi when you see her manning the host stand on Saturday nights.
Erick Williams joined the opening team at mk in 1998 and took over leadership of the kitchen in the fall of 2008. Under his direction, the menu at mk has retained its farm-to-plate seasonal approach and has continued to receive accolades from local and national press. He is inspired every week at the farmer’s markets in Chicago and has formed lasting relationships with mk’s farming partners, among them the crews at Werp Farms, Nichols Farm and Spence Farms.
Erick spends much of his time teaching and training at-risk youth and is a mentor to many; he believes in the value of education through cooking and strives to be an example for those in his community. Erick has worked with youth from Disney II Magnet School, Perspectives Charter School, adults from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and fundraises for Sweet Water Foundation which helps bring urban gardening and aquaponics to Chicago and Milwaukee area schools.
Erick sums up his feelings for cooking succinctly: “It was once said to me by my father that the search for equality is found through common ground and sharing a meal is a universal expression of respect and dignity.”
Lisa Bonjour joins the mk culinary team with years of experience garnered in premiere restaurants across the country. Previously, Lisa assisted the pastry teams at Quince in Evanston, Epic and BOKA in Chicago, and at Back Bay Grill in Portland, Maine. Lisa has also spent time in the mk kitchen before, and, most recently, at Trenchermen where she developed the plated desserts for the dinner and brunch menus and maintained the restaurant’s extensive fresh bread program.
Lisa’s dessert creations focus on simple and balanced flavors to delight mk diners. Growing up, Lisa would frequently visit her grandparents in Michigan and draws on the experience of preparing meals with fresh fruits and vegetables from their extensive garden to develop an approach to dish creation that celebrates the best produce and flavors of the season. When not in the mk kitchen, Lisa enjoys exploring Chicago with friends.
Kate has served in the role of event coordinator at mk since its opening in 1998. She receives rave reviews from her clients and is known for her warm demeanor. In addition to this, she brings a keen eye for perfection, highly developed organization skills and a love for food and wine to the table. Kate started her career as an accountant but has always felt she found her true calling when she was hired at mk.
Kate is an avid biker which is in tune with her high energy level. Give her a shout-out if you see her zipping along the lake or on Franklin Street on her way to an event. Her all-time favorite menu item is mk’s classic tuna tartare, paired with a delicious glass of chardonnay.
Jesus started in the hospitality industry with his very first job, and immediately loved it. He joined the MK team in 2008 as a member of the service team. Through over seven years of mentorship from chefs and managers, Jesus has embraced the MK philosophy and recently taken on a larger role as the General Manager.